Tag Archives: connectivity

Thursday Aintree Card – Why I’m Bypassing the Grand National

Good evening from the Major who writes tired from his bed and thus will keep things brief, if that is OK with you.

When you are being slung out of the office by the security guard and find yourself buying an 11pm kebab for dinner (not ideal Paris Marathon, Sunday, prep), you know it has been a day.  Yet, a damn productive one too.  I was not there under sufferance, more capturing the spirit of productivity coursing through my veins.

Sleep beckons though.  I started typing at midnight and plan to be finished by twenty to one.  That means 40 minutes, to fit in a diatribe about the national and give some tips.   Now you can do the maths but you can see that not a  lot of time in this equation is dedicated to the fine art of studying form.  I am not selling this well am I.  Come to think of it, I never do.

The Major remains free, slightly profitable and unhinged.  Here for your delectation.

Why the Major is Bypassing the Grand National

This week I am going to receive thousands of visitors seeking a tip on the national.  It is a moment of the year when our sport is in the nation’s mind.  we will be front page and not just back page.

Yet, it is race that I, for one, am done with.  At essence, it does not compare to the national hunt racing I love, baring few similarities.

No other race is run over four and a half miles.   The obstacles are like no other these horses face and the melee of the scene and forty horses piling around makes for an ugly spectacle.

Now some will think that I am either soft or a hypocrite.  Let me take those in turn.  To the first I say that I love racing despite its inherent dangers.  The thrill of watching these fine athletes strut their stuff… well, I find it intoxicating.  Yet, with the National, the danger is no longer a feared risk which is the by-product of the challenge… no, the danger becomes the spectacle.

The commentator excitedly calling the spills, betting markets on whether they all survive the first fence, I find it less appealing.

I hope all 40 horses make it round safely but I’d rather give it a miss myself.  If racing wanted a safer national, less runners is where I would start, followed by severe changes to some of the jumps, particularly those, like Bechers, with a severe drop.  Then, National fans, would wring their hands and exclaim that the heart of the race has gone.  Good riddance would be my reply.  This is no good advert for racing.

That is my other issue with the National.  The controversy around it may threaten racing more widely.  Further tragedies may create more popular support for banning the race.  I would prefer we dealt with it now.

I have it off my chest.

Thursday Aintree Card

Aintree and Punchestown can throw some odd results.  It is a time of the year when the ground is changing and horses that have been running on softer ground, meet spring ground, changing their prospects.  Horses who have been on the go a lot, or mainly prepared with Cheltenham in mind can also throw some shockers too.  Thus, a little caution is advised.

In the opener a prime example of a must back horse is there.  Irish Saint bypassed Cheltenham for a crack at Aintree and clearly Paul Nicholls thinks a flat track is what he needs.  Judged on his performance up the Cheltenham hill when second to Rolling Star previously, I am sure he is right.  10/3 Stan James.

Flaxen Flare is a danger to all if reproducing an astonishing Fred Winter performance that came after the application of headgear.

Silviniaco Conti is an unbelievable 10/11 shot.  He has been a much improved horse this season and would certainly (in my eyes) have played a part in the finish of the Gold Cup had he not fell coming down the hill.  Load the cannons.

The New One is a hugely likeable horse having just beaten My Tent or Yours at Cheltenham in a warm up before winning the Neptune Novices.  Good ground holds no fears and what is not to like?  Yet he is meeting older horses for the first time here and we should be fearful of several.  Oscar Whisky ran too badly to be true in the World Hurdle and is a considered beast on ground he likes.

Zarkander has been fitted with headgear which is odd as I see nothing wrong with the attitude of the horse but having run well earlier in the year, looked just short of top class when fourth in the Champion.

It is Grandouet I side with who was still travelling well when falling in the Champion, runs well on good and can be forgiven finishing behind Zarkander on reappearance after a long lay off.

The foxhunters is run on the national course and considering my earlier rant, it is one I shall leave, even though it is a far safer race and not one I oppose in itself.

In the Red Rum, Kid Cassidy is of clear interest having finished second to another JP owned horse in the Grand Annual last time out.  That race is bound to throw up more handicap winners and this one is a clear contender.  However, I side with Astracad who loves good ground, is young enough to improve and races off a similar mark to when placing in this last year.  The Twiston Davies family have had a good year and I back it to continue.

I am having a big slice of Captain Conan in the novice chase.  Many did not like the look of his Sandown win and judged him a non stayer.  Whether that is correct or not, I am unsure but his defeat by Benefficient (indeed behind Changing Times too) in the Jewson was more the result of poor jumping in my view.  Many of these might not act on good drying ground and Captain Conans physique and style suggest he might be one but I struggle to find a much better one to beat him.

In the last race, the three mile handicap hurdle, I am going to opt for Many Clouds who really impressed me last time out and looked a shade classy.  He has big field experience and is my idea of the winner at 14/1.  One at 20s worth a mention and probably wholly unfancied is Connectivity.   He is likely to much prefer this ground to his Warwick reappearance and I would not rule his involvement out.

 

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The Lincoln, Uttoxeter Tips, Gowran Park Certainty – It is the Majors Saturday Horseracing and Sports Service

Good morning fine punters of Britain from fine Defford where the Major composes his Saturday service under the heady influence of coffee and anticipation.  As ever the Major has been at study since dawn taking in the days form and applying myself to the evidence to seek the best value for our faithful few, our band of merry warriors.

To war without hesistation followers and allow Taqleed to pick up the dinner tab

The Friday steamer was a poor selection, apologies if you burned your cash.  Since a marvellous Cheltenham, the Major has hit a barren run.  Last weekend restored profits, this weekend we hope to skyrocket them.   As always, all advice is free, unhinged and barely profit-making but in the best intention.  The left hand menu allows you to sign up to the free email alerts, powered by WordPress, or sign up to twitter @tdl123.

How fine it is to be an Englishman in these rare times.  Listen not to the doom-mongers of financial Armageddon.  The world of sporting opportunity laid before us so finely, who cannot appreciate the sheer ecstasy of the moment, the vast panorama of anticipated contest – It feels like it is made for us personally, crafted by celestial hands, yet in the vastness of eternity how could that be?  From our lofty position, before the action starts, we can draw breath and take stock, this is the finest moment.  We have considered, we are yet to choose, the vessels pressure increases and we feel the tingle in our nerve ends.  It cannot burst, it will not, allow us to be glorious.

The Major strains under our shared need for a significant Saturday full of winners and hubris, smiles, delight, excitement, thrills, anticipation and agonisingly close yet wonderfully victorious moments, incredible exuberance, sheer joy, punch the air, bliss, breathlessness.  The strands of sport, the possibilities refract wildly almost randomly, as in a marvellous prism.  At first, we seek by calculation the way the light may bend, we wager on it because opinion is less valuable than your own private conscience staking actual financial capital. 

The light hits the stone and the strands disperse, some shining brilliantly, others dappling wide beams ineffectual, soft and lacking purpose.  We will see clearly the right route now, were we right?  Did we select wisely?

Of all stones, the Koh i Noor diamond was once the worlds largest and a fine prism.  Of uncertain origin beyond it’s mining source in Golkonda of South Central India, it passed through India, Afghanistan and Pakistan, resting in the fort of Lahore, before becoming a British possession as a spoil of the Sikh war fought in the beautiful Punjab.   Some say the stone is cursed if worn by a man.  It is certainly an imperfect gem, Prince Albert cut the diamond significantly, overseeing the job himself, to try to improve its brilliance.  This was born from his personal frustration at the 180 carat monster being less than ideally shaped, but he failed, leaving only a 105 carat piece that is still the pride of the crown jewels.  If it were not for the foolhardy spirit of Sir Hugh Gough, whose attack at Chillianwalla was bloody or the cold calculations and determined General Napier, who ran down the Sikhs with a numerical inferior force of Benghals Sappers and raised our flag at Lahore, it would not be in our possession at all.  Perhaps one day we will return it to India, there have been campaigns, it seems unlikely.   

The majesty of the Koh i Noor does not lie in it’s untold value.   Nor is it in the stones failing beauty which is like a glorious long limbed silky amazon beauty who is tragically self conscious and uncomfortable in her own skin leaving you oddly fascinated, yet cold.  No, the nature of the powerful grip that Koh i Noor holds is it’s magical heritage.  Passed from dynasty to dynasty, it is history, romance, war, plunder, blood incarnate.  The Persian translation is Mountain of Light.  Visit the Tower of London and look at it yourself.  When you see the brilliant light that is spun from the stone, think of the possibilities of sporting venture and how it all pans out irrepressibly, spinning and weaving, majestic.

To the sports.  Daub your war paint young punting warrior, it is time to draw blood.

It is Lincoln day (Doncaster 3.10).  Messrs Cherry believes he has the winner, no form required, just follow Ryan Moore.  The Major is unsure but wishes him luck with that project.  Fremont could be well handicapped dropping 6lb after a sparingly raced career.  Not for the Major.

Indeed, the Major is frighteningly boring when it comes to this years Lincoln.  I think the best horse is Taqleed the favourite.  The Cambridgeshire form is good enough but you would expect the natural improvement from three to four to do the rest.  A potential group horse, just like the last two winners.  Drawn so that Hills can decide where he wants to go for his run, easy.  Gosden trained and out of Sharmadal, it all looks classy enough to the Major.  9/2 with Hills as I type.  Have a chunky slice and then tell your neighbours, touch the side of your nose as you do so.

Not too many of you sporting gentlemen awoke this morning with a pounding heart and the burning outcome of the 4.40 Uttoxeter Mark Crank Memorial Handicap Hurdle on your mind, which is the most valuable race on the Northern midland track’s card.

Connectivity was the initial eye catcher, an obvious type at the head of the weights.  After consideration though, the Majors started to be attracted to Pro Pell.  This one has dropped through the handicap like a heavy stone after showing earlier promise.  Indeed it won off the same mark going back a couple of years.  None of the form since has been up to scratch though and the horses it has beaten don’t do enough to convince Pro Pell is quite good enough, a danger.

This leaves the Majors selection, China Gold 4/1 Generally and a big selection it is to – I LIKE THIS ONE.  This one had Fistral Beach behind a couple of years ago which is better than any of these (bar County Zen) have ever achieved.  If it is ready to go, I think it is well weighted and could take advantage.  Even at the weights Connectivity looks a better prospect but running so soon after a bloodless Towcester win strikes the Major as concerning enough to abandon for the potentially well weighted China Gold.

Shot from the Hip looks a penalty kick in the 2.10 at Gowran Park and so I advise you to load the big cannon there.  The formline with Oscars Well looks strong enough and this one looks the type to progress.  BOOM BOOM.  Sadly no markets are open and I suspect the forecast SP of 2/1 is wildly optimistic.  Evens at best in the Majors book, take anything you can over 6/4.  You may sniff nothing near it!

Back at Doncaster (3.40), backing 2yo horses at this stage of the season is not in the Majors sensible betting resolutions.  I cannot though let the day go without a mention for the 14/1 He’s So Cool.  The name comes from the prolific One Cool Cat who sired the horse.  Prominent in the betting on debut he faded into third behind todays favourite Redair and second favourite Bubbly Ballerina (out of Footstepsinthesand).  I have to say that the horse may improve significantly beyond the other two and I am all over it at 14/1, they are the only three with experience which counts for a lot.  This looks like a hot introduction.

To the sports fields.

The Premier League fixtures are made tougher by the unknown quantity of the break.  This can have the effect of giving teams who were performing poorly before it a revitalising rest and an opportunity to reflect and rethink.  Those performing well have to switch off and switch on again – Thus, it can be a form reverser.  A complication we do not need, just one bet.

I am a fan of backing Chelsea at odds on 8/11 to win at Stoke.  Chelsea are resurgent and Stoke looked in trouble before the break, the price is generous.

I like backing against teams who have lost a manager, I also like backing teams playing their first game under a new gaffer.  The former is the case as Oxford travel to Bury, have a slice at 11/4 that Oxford can take all three points.

I always get stick from the Hillmeister general when I back against the mighty West Brom so I will not, but 7/5 Liverpool must be tempting.  I for one, am persuaded they are a new team and Carroll and Suarez looks potent to me.  No bet advised due to the blood pressure of my industry peer.

Can Tendulkar score his hundreth hundred in the Cricket World Cup final?  I hope so.  No bet advised.

The Major is attending Gloucester v Newcastle and is expecting a landslide home win.  No bet advised.

The Big Dipper bet this week in honour of a brave man from the South is a treble on Taqleed 9/2, Oxford 11/4 and China Rock 4/1 = All with Hills – This is just over 100/1 – Never say the Major is not a brave man.

Throw in He’s So Cool for the lucky 15.

Tonight may I suggest a delectable meal at the finest establishment that your wallet can afford.  Thus, entertain the most expensive women you know.  Of course this makes the evening more demanding.  Greater care is required in preparation and grooming.  Attentiveness at dinner, your best officers manners please, do not skimp on the wine but be assertive, she would expect that.  In fact, select her dining for her whether she likes it or not. 

The effort is all worth it, even with these classy sorts like the strands of light in the prism, all are made from the same source material and behave accordingly.  If two bottles of sancerre and the best brandy have been applied, the Major wages at two to one on, you will be at horseplay before the shipping forecast is preceded by the melodic hypnotising ‘sailing by’. 

Good luck and roll those dice.

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